One of the insights I went home with from the recently concluded SFC International Conference in Palawan was Gelo Saludo's definition of loving more: To not just bloom where you are planted, but to bear fruit that will remain.
I have been in the community for almost a decade now, and after hearing those words from the last session's speaker, I pondered and asked the Lord if I have contributed anything to the community. Was I able to bear fruit? Did those fruits remain?
Then I received a text message from a brother about the Cornerstone Moving Up Day. Time flies really fast. It was just like yesterday when we had our Orientation and now, another school year will come to a close. And in a sweet whisper, I heard God say, "Cornerstone is the fruit that remains."
I was privileged to be among the first batch of Cornerstone Tutors, pioneers if we may be called as such. At that time, our sector (East A) was assigned to handle Commonwealth Elementary School in Quezon City. Because it was a pilot run, we were able to experience all sorts of what we call "birth pains". There was even a time when there were only two of us who came and we were forced to attend to more than 30 hyperactive students. We were confronted by a disappointed principal, and we had to endure the heat and the long walk just to bring back the kids safely to their homes. The first year was painful, but it was necessary as it taught us valuable lessons which we applied on the succeeding years especially when we already implemented the program in our own sector.
To date, East A is serving in three schools, namely Kabisig Elementary School in Cainta, San Lorenzo Ruiz Elementary School in Pasig, and Felix Sanvictores Elementary School in Taytay. The volunteers have grown in numbers, though still not enough to maintain a 1:1 tutor-student ratio. Much is still to be done, but the program goes on and even flourishes with each passing year.
I am no longer as involved as I was before and some of the former tutors have already gotten married or have moved to other service, but the program remains. Because it is the Lord's work, He never fails to provide. This is the fruit of all the labors and sacrifices of those who responded to the call. The pioneers may no longer be around, just like the first disciples who are now martyrs and saints, but the message of God's love and compassion that they have planted, continues to grow and bear fruit that lasts, fruit that remains.
Cornerstone is now on its fourth year and each year, more schools are added to the list, more volunteers are formed, more lives are touched, more children are given the opportunity to become their better selves academically, socially, emotionally, and spiritually. I wouldn't be surprised to see this country being led by a former Cornerstone student.
After all, through education anything can happen. :)
And if I won't live long enough to witness it happen, at least I know in my heart, that somehow, in my own little way, I bore fruit that remained.